"Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Support before, during and after treatment.
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"Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby Emerald » 25pm28America/New_York()

CHEMO BRAIN is REAL!!!! Check this out:

"It's a definite medical condition," says Dr. Christina Meyers, PhD,
ABPP, professor of neuropsychology in the Department of Neuro-
Oncology at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, describing what
has come to be known as "chemo brain," a lesser-known side effect of
chemotherapy, which can be just as serious as nausea, fatigue, and
hair loss. Thankfully, the condition-marked by a reduction in verbal
or visual memory, problems with attention and concentration, a
reduction in the speed of processing information, and visual or
spatial abnormalities-is the subject of several recent studies, as
researchers seek clues to the cause and the cure of this foggy mental
condition.


Still, many patients are surprised by the debilitating impact of the
condition. "I honestly didn't know this would happen," says Sharon,
39, of Morgantown, West Virginia. "I was more concerned with fatigue
and taking care of my family." But after her second chemotherapy
treatment, she went into a general fog for a week. "I couldn't
multitask," she says of the way the devastating side effect affected
her demanding career as a multimedia designer for government
projects. "Losing my train of thought was scary. And I couldn't
manage the household, remember names and numbers, or balance my
checkbook."


We now know that chemo brain is a manifestation of central nervous
system toxicity that occurs in many cancer patients on active therapy
and may persist for 45 percent of patients after treatment is
discontinued," says Dr. Meyers. Researchers also believe that some
people have genes that make cancer more responsive to treatment. This
puts normal tissue at risk for changes and makes them more
susceptible to mental effects from chemotherapy.

In tests on the central nervous systems of experimental animals, Dr.
Noble's team has found that during chemotherapy there is a long-
lasting reduction in cell division in the hippocampus of the brain,
an action believed necessary for normal memory function. "Our work
shows that there is damage to the insulation (myelin) that surrounds
axons, with eventual loss of the cells that produce the myelin. A
lack of myelin could also cause cognitive problems."

Breakthroughs may also result from research by Jame Abraham, MD,
director of the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Program at West Virginia
University's Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. His team is one of the
first to investigate which specific changes in the brain lead to
memory loss. Early research shows differences in the white matter in
the front part of the brain in women who had received chemotherapy-
differences that correlate with their slower speed in processing
information. "Our preliminary findings suggest that chemotherapy may
change the brain, and those changes affect the patient's cognitive
skill," Dr. Abraham says. West Virginia University researchers also
concluded that these changes do not appear to be caused by depression
or anxiety.3 For those affected, Dr. Abraham's research regarding
direct damage to the brain from chemotherapy brings validation to
their claims.

Found on http://www.cancerconsultants.com
"I don't care if my glass is half full or half empty, I am just thankful to have a glass!"
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby cheri » 05pm31America/New_York()

I knew it was all in my head! My memory has never been the same since chemo and I've used the term chemobrain many times but have been met with 'the look.' You all know the one people give you when you're trying to explain your forgetfulness and confusion being due to chemo. I just know in their mind they're rolling their eyes and thinking, yeah and you're not getting any younger either.

Wouldn't it be cool if someone came out with one of those medical bracelets like they make for diabetics, certain blood types and allergies to medications and have it printed with Chemobrain in big letters on it? Then, when you did something just plain goofy...you could just shake your wrist at them so they could see what made you act that way! Then they'd nod their head knowingly and you'd be excused. It would be much simpler than having to carry a Chemobrain Card you had to dig out and show people. Validation is a wonderful thing.
Cheri
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby suzfive » 06pm31America/New_York()

Researchers also believe that some
people have genes that make cancer more responsive to treatment. This
puts normal tissue at risk for changes and makes them more
susceptible to mental effects from chemotherapy.


I like this part of the report. I will put up with the chemobrain if that darn chemo did a number on the cancer. It has been three years and I still have trouble with finding words and overall remembering anything. DH says to write things down - that would help if I could remember where I wrote it
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby sue_blue » 06pm31America/New_York()

I just had this conversation with my twenty-something daughter last night. Apparently my children are less than sympathetic and think it somewhat entertaining. It's hard for someone that young that has never really faced adversity to completely understand what this is all about. It really did hurt my feelings that they lack the sensitivity that I had hoped they possessed.
As Reagan warned... "Should the United States fall there will a thousand years darkness".
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby cheri » 06pm31America/New_York()

I think our kids just think we're "mom" and we can do anything, especially after it's been awhile. They're young and they have no idea what we've really been through. I know my own 26 yr old daughter was scared out of her mind when I was first dx'd. Three years later, I should be fine and it's all over with...not so. Plus, I think there's a fear factor that figures in with them...if they don't think about it then it's not real. Complicated stuff.
Cheri
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby bb67 » 06pm31America/New_York()

Does anybody else with chemo brain find that communicating in writing is easier than speaking? I swear, I can hardly form a complete sentence when speaking to someone but I can type up a storm in emails and on message boards!

My kids really exploited the whole "mom can't remember sh@*#" thing at first--especially when I was on oxycontin for pain. When I dropped the pain meds, the memory did improve a little. The boys were suprised they couldn't get away with as much! Dh has always had a horrible memory. I think the stress of everything has made it worse. We ask one another for reminders about important things--pretty much a joke because we do well to remember our own names most days!

(((HUGS)))
Diane
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby cheri » 07am31America/New_York()

I agree, conversation in writing is so much easier than verbally. Although, I do find myself forgetting little details when I'm posting, too. Whatever I've forgotten will usually hit me after I lay down for bed..it just pops right in my head...along with that darned theme song to Green Acres that plays over and over when I'm trying to sleep...
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby bb67 » 07am31America/New_York()

Dangit...Now I have the theme to Green Acres stuck in MY head!


Greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen Acres is the place to be
Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarm livin' is the life for me...

LOL! Actually, I should thank you. I've had a Van Halen song stuck in my head for the last 4 hours and couldn't shake it. It's gone now! LOLOLOLOL

(((HUGS)))
Diane
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby cheri » 07am31America/New_York()

Glad I could help you out with head songs...the least you could've done was to tell me which Van Halen song so maybe I'd have a chance of it replacing Green Acres! lol

Noooo, New York is where I'd rather stay
I get allergic smelling hay
I just adore a penthouse view
Darling I love you but give me Park Avenue....

round and round it goes...
Cheri
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby cheri » 07am31America/New_York()

hahahaha I was watching American Idol the other night and it showed a short clip of someone who had tried out and didn't make it...get this...she tried out for that show singing the theme song to The Jeffersons!

Well. we're movin on up..to the east side
To a deee-luxe apartment in the sky-i-i
Cheri
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby Mulberry » 07am31America/New_York()

My chemo brain got me in real trouble this week when I forgot to fedex an important package that needed to be at our corp. office the next day. Just walked off and left it on my desk. Didn't give it another thought until the next morning when I was a block away from the office and then it just popped into my head. OH SH@#!!!!! Have spent all week kissing a$$ to get this one straightened out and second guessing myself on everything else I do.

My younger brother has suffered from short term memory loss since he was a boy. He got into more trouble for not paying attention or not listening. Even as a young man he would call me in a panic and say he'd dropped his daughter off at the babysitter and couldn't remember where he had left her. Poor thing he would be in tears and scared to death.

It wasn't until his late 20s that he finally was diagnosed don't recall what it's called but no cure for it. He now carries around a note pad and writes everything down. This works well for him and he manages very well. His daughter is grown now and he jokingly says he still can't figure out where she is most of the time.

Thinking maybe I should start using his method.
Chemosabi

Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby Chemosabi » 07am31America/New_York()

Image

Has this ever happened to you? I have 2 kinds of problems with chemobrain. One is thinking of a really good topic and right when I'm ready to share it, I forget what I was thinking about. It used to be I could retrace my steps and remember it again. Not so much luck with that after chemo.

I also have some expressive aphasia. I think of the word and can't get it out. Or put a completely new word in it's place! So glad my husband has gotten used to this one.

I will say things like "that's the way the ball crumbles, or that's the way a cookie bounces." I also find that I daydream alot more. Realized I could have whole conversations with my husband and not know or remember a thing we were talking about. Sometimes I get caught ;)

It has always amazed me that not just chemobrain, but alot of other things we exerience get brushed to the side because thats "not one of the side effects." I have always wondered who determines the side effects to begin with. That would be US! So why do our symptoms get brushed aside?

Someone asked about writing? I do much better with writing. I'm a good typist and my fingers move faster than my brain. Maybe thats a good thing. :lol:

Chemosabi
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby Mimi2 » 08pm31America/New_York()

Well, I've been listen to a CD while sitting here and typing...very hard to concentrate. Right now Lionel Richie (The Commodores) is singing "Still." It's PURTTY!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hvsNmPK6ls&feature=related
Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV) "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left".
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby Mimi2 » 08pm31America/New_York()

Well, Chemosabi, I do all kinds of nutty things. I can't even remember them.

I have this friend who I get the biggest kick out of. A long time ago we were talking about funerals. Instead of her using the word "pall bearers" she said "umpires." We still laugh about this. I wish I could remember other words she's used...so, that's how the cookie bounces! I hope I can remember that and "that's how the ball cumbles." She'd get a big laugh out of that. Oh, she has fibromyalsia so hers is "fibro fog."
Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV) "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left".
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby cheri » 09pm31America/New_York()

It seems like my short term memory is worse than my long term. I can remember specific events that happened 30 yrs ago...but don't know what I had for breakfast. There is a bit of a problem relating these old stories though...get tongue tied...that's why writing is better.
Cheri
Chemosabi

Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby Chemosabi » 10am31America/New_York()

Mimi: That would be like me calling a Halloween costume uniforms? Ha thats funny.

Chemosabi
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby Emerald » 10pm31America/New_York()

OMGosh chemosabi!!! Yes I do the same thing with words!!! What REALLY drives me crazy ( I may have already said this.....but I cant remember) is when I know what to say, I have pictures in my head , but I cant for the life of me get the words out.!!!!!

And my ability to know simple words.......................ugghhh. It has gotten SO BAD that I bought a dictionary AND thesaraus for my BlackBerry! Now I have instant access.........of course I forget that I have them..............................

What I want to know for real is:

I was filling out my pain level form for the doctor and it asks questions related to that particular day. Under "memory loss" I checked "YES". But then I realized that up to that point, I hadn't forgotten anything that day. So I forgot, that I HADN'T forgotten anything......does that count? :o :o
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby Mimi2 » 11am31America/New_York()

Yes, Em, that counts. LOLOLOLOLOLOL

HI, CHEMOBASI!
Last edited by Mimi2 on 11am31America/New_York(), edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Look how I spelled your name...ChemoSABI would be the correct way....I think. Geez!
Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV) "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left".
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby cheri » 12am31America/New_York()

I was driving down the highway today listening to the 'classic' station...which is another way of saying it's songs us old folks like...and David Cassidy was singing "I Think I Love you." Now I haven't heard that song in a whole lot of years...yet I sang along and remembered every word. My memory is terrible yet I can recall useless things like the lyrics to old TV shows, dead actors names and what role they played and old commercial jingles and such. Either I watched way too much TV as a child or I have short term memory loss. I've heard several people mention things from many years ago and yet can't recall where they put their car keys. I began to notice this after chemo. Actually, I started noticing alot of things after tx.

I got good news today. I went with my daughter and her family to her OB for her ultra sound...she has 2 little boys...and she's having a Girl! Due Aug.8th, her MIL was so excited cos she had only 2 boys and this is her and her husbands first grandchild. Most importantly...baby and mama are doing well and are both healthy...so far so good. Her name will be Emma. Unless they change their minds.
Cheri
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby Mimi2 » 13am31America/New_York()

Cheri, I can't remember things from the past or in the now! I wonder what that means!? ;)

Awwwww...a baby girl. My MIL and FIL had three boys. Then they had a grandson. THEN, we had their first granddaugter! Then my SIL who had the first grandson had a gd for them. Then I had two more gds for them. Then, my other SIL and BIL had two granddaughters for them...so funny..only one grandson..BUT THEN...their one grandson gave them a great grandson. If your brain is as mushy as mine is you'll never understand one thing I just typed. Let's put it this way...they had three boys, one grandson, six granddaughters and one great grandson.

I had the three girls. My first grandbaby was a girl. I didn't care cuz I loved girls. THEN, I finally got a grandson. I love little boys. Never having one is really fun now.

I could go on with my SIL's side of the family, but I'll stop. LOL

PS I FORGOT! :idea: My dd gave them another great granddaugher (I've already said that I had a granddaughter so that would make her their ggd). Then, two of their other gds had three ggds for them. So, that makes a total of one great grandson and four great granddaughers. Oh, but my dd gave them a great grandson..So that makes two great grandsons. :? So, now lets see...four great granddaughters and two great grandsons. Still confused? So am I!

Shirley
Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV) "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left".
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cheri
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby cheri » 14am31America/New_York()

LOL Shirley! How in the world do you keep all that straight? I just had the one daughter so when she had the first grandson we were just crazy about him...and we still are. Then she had the second one and that was ok too cos I'd never had any boys and the gs was so much fun. She had a 3rd son, Gavin, just 12 months younger than the 2nd. She and Gavin laid down to take a nap one afternoon while they were here and I had the other boys in the living room with me. Gavin was one month and one day, she woke up...and he never did. He died of SIDS. She just about lost her mind but muddled through it. That was 3 yrs ago and she got pregnant towards the end of last summer and was so excited..and she miscarried identical twins. So, this time has been really nerve wracking for everyone concerned. So the ultra sound was like a turning point for us to relax about her losing it and then to find out it's a little girl was really an added bonus! My grandsons are 4 and 8 and the oldest one really got a kick out of watching the US. She was moving her little hand and he swore she was waving at us! lol Now that was a day that will stand out in what mind I have left. Seems like the really bad stuff and the really good stuff isn't affected by my chemo brain. I guess some things are just unforgettable.
Cheri
Chemosabi

Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby Chemosabi » 14am31America/New_York()

Despite having chemobrain...there are some things I will never forget. And the beat goes on.!

Nicki
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Re: "Chemo Brain" Is Real!!!

Postby Pat » 01am31America/New_York()

Yes, visitors and guests are limited in what they can see, and they cannot post. Who is Bob?

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